08/07/2007, 00.00
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Elections in Jakarta, Catholic’s fear an “Islamic Governor”

by Mathias Hariyadi
Tomorrow citizens in the capital will choose a new governor. On the eve of the vote, the Archdiocese’ Commission for Apostolate to the lay writes a letter warning of the risks of a victory of candidates linked to the PKS: “Although it has not openly declared its intent, the party aims to introduce sharia and uproot the principals of the Constitution”.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The imminent elections for the governor of Jakarta are worrying religious and ethnic minorities; in a possible victory by the Prosperous and Justice Party (PKS) they see the erosion of the principles of national unity and secular values enshrined in Indonesian law and the nearing of an Islamic State.  The Commission for Apostolate to the lay of the capital’s archdiocese has launched the alarm; the body also known by KAJ, has published a letter to the city’s inhabitants, on the eve of the vote due to take place tomorrow August 8th.

The letter notes that the PKS, of Islamic inspiration, “has never publicly expressed its political agenda. However, there have been scores of reason to believe that PKS’ political is the to change what is the so-caled 'secular state" with new policies with the religion-based orientation".  The KAJ warns against “some radical right-wing Muslim-based parties and groups attempts to implement sharia at a local level (such as in Aceh); this is once again a “political violation” against the very basic principle of the Constitution and “ideas” voiced by Indonesia’s Founding Fathers”.

The letter proceeds to highlight the closure of domestic churches and the violence carried out by Islamic Defender Front (FPI) against some night clubs in Jakarta, as “preliminary steps” towards an Islamic State. “The PKS –underlines Krissantono, KAJ president –  has officially claimed and declared itself a “conservative Muslim-based party” and rejects any idea of “Muslim fundamentalist”, but in the real day-to-day politics the PKS has been the only political power in the modern Indonesian society which maintains that the morals of a certain religious belief (Islam) should be implemented in the country”.

To avoid the gradual application of Sharia, Krissantono invites Jakarta’s Catholics to vote for political groups which “which continue to declare their loyalty to the values of [the five guiding principals of the country, present in the preface to the Constitution] and national unity”.

In tomorrow’s election, two couples of candidates are running: on the one hand the ex chief of police Adang Daradjatun, a Muslim with the outgoing Jakarta councillor Dani Anwar; both are supported by the PKS. On the other hand, the current vice Governor Fauzi Bowo and army general Prijanto, currently retired, and supported by over 20 political formations among them the Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democracy Party Struggle (PDIP). The Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB), of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, has also thrown his support behind this grouping.  “This is significant – concludes Krissantono – for all nationalists as well as moderate Muslims, the PKS political agenda raises concerns”. For Christians and other minorities the possibility of an Islamic governor in the capital could mean “further obstacles to religious freedom and obtaining permission to build churches”.


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